USA: Seattle beats Columbus to defend Open Cup title (+video)
The Seattle Sounders have defended the US Open Cup title they won in 2009 by defeating the Columbus Crew by two goals to one on Tuesday and gain a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League qualifying rounds for the 2011-12 season. As a result of their victory the Sounders became the first team to successfully win back-to-back Open Cup titles since the imaginatively named New York Pancrypian Freedoms won the competition in 1982 and 1983.
The final of the 97th edition of the US Open Cup was played in front of a partisan 31,000 crowd in QWest Stadium, the home of the Sounders, but the hoardes of expectant home fans saw their team fall behind midway through the first half when Kevin Burns put Columbus Crew ahead. Columbus, who defeated DC United after extra-time to qualify for the final, were hopeful of landing their first Open Cup title since 2002 but the home side eventually got into their stride and restored parity with eight minutes of the first half remaining thanks to Gambian international Sanna Nyassi
Nyassi would go on to prove the difference between the two sides as he popped up in the 66th minute to score the winner. The win means that the Sounders, a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise since the 2009 season, have enjoyed success in each of the two seasons that they have played an active part in the football scene in the United States. The tournament win was well deserved for Seattle following their earlier round defeats of fellow MLS sides Chivas USA and Los Angeles Galaxy. Their reward will be another tilt at qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League, a competition they are now destined to exit at the group stage in this year’s edition following four defeats in five games. Maybe the experience already gained from domestic knockout football will stand them in good stead on the international stage next season.
WATCH US OPEN CUP HIGHLIGHTS AND INTERVIEWS HERE: